Until recently, my attitude toward prayer had been guided by President Harry S. Truman who said that "people who pray the loudest are the ones you lock your hen house from." Praying out loud was something I never did. Until Facebook came along.
"My mother is Orthodox Christian and my father is Muslim," said my new friend, Ismail.
The choirs are rehearsing their music, the preachers are mulling their texts and volunteers are organizing to once again deck the halls for the six services of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
It was interesting to witness, how in this summer season in Peru, informal meetings and briefings would take place outside and chairs were moved to the grass areas and under the tress instead of being seated on concrete or inside the rooms.
We will need to demonstrate that there are viable nonviolent means of dealing with societal problems--ways that are not only effective, but in fact more effective than violence is at resolving conflict, and keeping us safe as a society.
Ben Franklin once wrote that "it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer." Dick Cheney, on the other hand, said: "I'm more concerned with bad guys who got out . . . than I am with a few that in fact were innocent."
We have this conundrum of who has a soul and who goes to heaven because the basic premise on the question is rather absurd. The concept of a soul is fatally flawed, just as is the idea of dualism.
Soldiers, officers and police that fought against each other two decades earlier are now working together in UN and NATO operations to keep or deliver peace.
Despite what Bill O'Reilly and Dr. Seuss would have you believe, nobody stole or declared war on Christmas this year -- neither a fairy-tale Grinch nor a puritan-like individual who cannot be happy because of complaints about the secularization of the season.
There and hundreds of teachings contained in the 4 Gospels of the New Testament, teachings that, if we obeyed, would absolutely flip our lives and world upside-down for the glory of God and the good of all people.
As Yale law professor Stephen Carter pointed out in an interview on an NPR broadcast Dec. 13, "It strikes me that you can have a program that is immoral and also occasionally produces good information."
Christmas is just days away. In shops and malls echoes of Bing Crosby singing "Silver Bells" serenade shoppers as they rush home with their treasures. But in all honesty, it's hard to consider Christmas 2014 to be "a season of joy."
After viewing his sermon and interview, in honor of Pastor Steven L. Anderson, I made donations to a center here in New York City that provides assistance to homeless LGBT youths, and to an organization that delivers meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.
That's what Hollywood would have you believe as it entices you to leave your home on Christmas Day so you catch the release of its new blockbuster about a Navy SEAL sniper who kills so-called bad people.
Most American Christians systematically and shamelessly ignore at least three of the Ten Commandments, but it's difficult to imagine someone protesting over merely two or seven or eight commandments.
Here in their refugee camp, the Christians with no Christmas like us in the West have placed a refugee tent for Jesus, and there in the camp is a tent for another person who was also a poor refugee who had nothing.